I was shopping at Trader Joe’s yesterday, picking up all my back-from-break basics, when a miracle happened. No, the nutrition gods didn’t suddenly decide that all those luscious packages of sugarcoated goodness staring back at me during my stroll down the frozen foods aisle would magically stop containing calories. A girl can only dream of the day that happens. But, this miracle was almost as good. There I was, deciding between the whole raw almonds or the sliced raw almonds, when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flash of orange. A tiny little flash of orange that could only mean one thing to my well-trained eye-kumquats.
These adorably diminutive orange citrus fruits are one of those rare food finds that can simultaneously satisfy my sweet tooth and my taste for all things sour-as Wikipedia informs me, this is because their rinds are sweet while the juicy fruit on the inside provides the aforementioned sour flavor. As a kid, I used to beg my mom to bring kumquats home from her weekly trips to the local farmer’s market and, she happily indulged me-however, thanks to the relatively short time they are in season, this only happened a few weeks out of the year. Popping a juicy kumquat into my mouth is one of my favorite savory sensations in life, and it’s a clear signal to me that the dark and dreary days of winter are on the way out and the swimsuit weather of spring is coming back in a big way.
And it’s about time. This winter has been a rollercoaster ride of the proverbially extreme highs and lows, for myself personally and for I.V. in a broader sense. There’s no sense in rehashing the past-for better or for worse, every high point, low point and in-between exists in the internet ether in the form of my past columns. Suffice it to say that it’s time for a new season, I’m ready, my wardrobe is ready and I’d be willing to be money that the rest of I.V. is ready too. Fortunately for us, there’s a whole lot to look forward to this spring quarter, and I’m not just talking about the chance to finally bust out the sandals, skirts and spaghetti straps that have been hiding in the back of my closet since October.
When it comes to giving I.V. residents reasons to love springing forward, the powers that be here at UCSB have truly outdone themselves again this year. In case you’ve been hibernating under a rock all winter, The Killers are kicking off the quarter with a show at UCSB’s very own Events Center-also known as the Thunderdome. That’s right, thanks to Associated Students’ Program Board, Brandon Flowers and his whole neo-New Wave indie rock crew are coming to S.B. on Friday to ring in spring with songs from Sam’s Town and Hot Fuss. Official word is that tickets to the 8 p.m. show are sold out, but a little research into the ambiguously-legal world of online ticket brokering reveals that you can still buy your way into this once-in-a-college-career concert, albeit for a price. Try this site for a rundown of brokers offering to trade your beer money for their tickets. And, if all else fails, hip-hopping hipster Mickey Avalon is appearing with up-and-coming superstar Shwayze at Velvet Jones on April 4, Bright Eyes are playing at The Arlington on May 5 and both Gwen Stefani and Norah Jones will be taking the stage at the S.B. Bowl in June.
If you’re looking for something slightly more off-the-beaten path, culturally speaking, try checking out some of the events Arts & Lectures has planned for spring quarter. In April alone, the hardworking folks at A&L are providing plenty of movies, music and dance to please almost any palate. My picks include the critically-acclaimed documentary Manufactured Landscapes and the Pedro Almodovar Hitchcockian family comedy-yes, such a thing is possible-that ranks as one of my all-time favorite movies of the year, Volver. Canada’s premiere ballet company Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and comedians David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell are also worth checking out in April. Other highlights during spring include An Evening with John Cleese featuring Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Pan’s Labryinth, The Human Rights Film Festival, academically accredited Puzzle Master Will Shortz and environmentalist Paul Hawken. For more information about times, dates and ticket prices check out UCSB Arts & Lectures website.
Santa Barbara isn’t exactly known for its seasons-no matter how much I try and tell smug East Coasters otherwise, most people don’t take us too seriously when we complain about how cold our 60 degree winter weather is. But yet, psychically-speaking, it feels like the seasons have just as much merit in sunny southern California as they do anywhere else. And, I don’t know about anyone else, but my mind is ready for the sun and surf that characterizes spring quarter at UCSB, and all of the music, movies and major events that will make this spring extra special. ‘Tis the season after all.